Businesses counting cyclone costs

by Cecilia Harris | Broker Buzz 18 Mar 2015

Claims from Cyclone Marcia’s recent battering of Central Queensland have soared after business owners started counting the cost of the damage, with about 30,000 claims lodged so far.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Rob Whelan says that the continuing rise in commercial claims over the past two and a half weeks was to be expected following such abrupt devastation, with total claims now sitting at around $400 million.

“These business claims are for a wide range of cyclone-related losses, from property and vehicle damage to business interruption. Many of these cases are quite complex,” Whelan says.

A large portion of property damage has been attributed to older buildings with poor resilience. However, Whelan says: “Most insured properties will be rebuilt or repaired to today’s cyclone building standards, which will ensure they have greater resilience to cyclones that may affect the region in the future.”

Whelan encourages policyholders with questions regarding insurance claims and handling, clean-up assistance, rebuilding and settlement options to register and attend insurance forums held this week.

The forums aim to foster resilience and sustainable recovery within communities, covering key aspects of recovery processes and offering policyholders an opportunity to discuss options with insurance professionals.

Peter Pierano, Principal Broker of Pirahna Brokers in Rockhampton, commends insurance companies for their involvement in community collaboration following the cyclone.

“Any community involvement that can promote better understanding of the rights of the consumer, I think is vital,” Pierano says.

“It is part of our charter as brokers to be community citizens.”

Regarding the response made by insurance companies in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, Pierano says: “I think they are doing a wonderful job, I really mean that. They are trying to get money out as quickly as can be. The overriding factor is that there are just so many claims, and we are trying to prioritise them.”

Insurance forums will be held in Yeppoon and Rockhampton this week.

Cyclone Nathan is expected to hit far-north Queensland later this week, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a cyclone watch zone for Cape Melville and Cardwell.

Forecasters have recommended that communities in the area brace for what is predicted to be a category 3 storm.

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